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“A well-established hostal with very professional hosts” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Pension Tio Tom

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Pension Tio Tom
| Old Bank, Isla Bastimentos, Panama   |  
Hotel amenities
Denbigh, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“A well-established hostal with very professional hosts”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2012

Tom and Ina are running the hostal for many years now and have perfected their customer service. The stay was comfortable in clean rooms with lovely food in fabulous surroundings. The hosts are never short of a smile and are very helpful with informations etc. I wished we could have stayed longer, but we had booked to go to Chiriqui, Boquete to La Casa Romantico (excellent as well) and we will definitily come again! Thank you so much for a wonderful time!!!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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111 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Antwerp, Belgium
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 14, 2012

Tom was friendly when we booked our room over the phone, but when we arrived we received a very FREEZING welcome. He offered us a free drink while we were waiting for the room, and could only serve me 1/4 a glass of lemonade because they were out (1/4 was good enough, as it was free), nice! He asked us to open a tap, because he didn't have to much change. we paid him 40USD upfront, he would charge the rest afterwards, fine! (check that bill!)
I became very ill and and was only able to eat crackers and a bit of yoghurt. My husband ordered cereal for breakfast (which came with too little milk, for which we had to pay extra), and when Tom came to get the plate, I asked him if I could use my husband's spoon. With an angry face, he pointed to a paper stating that one should not sit on the tables if one does not consume their breakfast. I repplied that I would love to have a real breakfast but that I was too ill, upon which he repplied arrogantly and with anger in his voice "oh, and that's the reason you have to sit here?" That is no way to treat a customer and definitely not one that is ill!
Then the check came... To our surprise, he had charged us: the free coffee and a lemonade (full price while I received just one zip) and the breakfast of my husband was 6USD more than on the menu. I guess the the overcharge was for the usage of the spoon?
he takes pride in warning his guests about the locals and talking bad about them. This made us feel very uncomfortable, as we are travelers that like to get to know the local culture, and interact with people we meet..

Our advice: If you go to Bastimentos: stay with the locals and not with this grumpy arrogant old man! You can stay cheaper, with nicer service and better value at the other hostels on the island, eat great breakfast at alvin's or the Pad Tai local pizzeria (not sure about the name) for halve the price. We will write to LP about this, as we do not want Tom and his wife to ruin the stay of future travelers, as Bastimentos is a fantastic place with a great vibe!

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2011

This is a long overdue review, but we loved Pension Tio Tom! My husband and I stayed in the separate bungalow, and Tom and Ina were both great hosts. They were helpful with information on hiking around Isla Bastimentos, going dolphin-spotting, visiting Isla Colon. They also whipped up some tasty coconut pancakes for breakfast. Would definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Top Contributor
100 reviews 100 reviews
45 hotel reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
75 helpful votes 75 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2011

In Bastimentos there are no mid-price/service options. There is either budget or all inclusive. TioTom's is the best budget option. The location on the water is hard to beat and all the water taxi drivers know exactly where to take you.

The owners have created a booklet that outlines all of the options for excursions and activities to do. They've listed prices you should expect to pay and even help arrange the trips. With their help we had a much easier time organizing a day trip for snorkeling, Dolphin Bay and Zapatillas than our friends who were staying in Boca.

The rooms are sparse but clean. Due to no rain in a few days, we were asked to limit or not shower since their water source is rain water. Given the pension is in the center of town you do get to hear everything going on in town even though the town is "sleepy". One night it was loud music, the second night it was dogs barking. Bring a good pair of earplugs because I don't think you could get quiet in any of the other lodging options either.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2011

After travelling from Costa Rica, we were a little disappointed in our initial impression of Panama. Then we found Isla Bastimentos and Tio Toms! We highly recommend this hostel. It is over the water (how cool is that!) affordable, clean, and quiet. The German owners are very friendly and they offer family dinner (for $7) almost every night and all the guests eat together. Tio Tom and Ina are wonderful hosts and always have great conversation. There is WiFi. No kitchen. No hot water, but we enjoyed the refreshing shower. The deck is built on top of the water with hammocks. Our room had a private bathroom and shower. Also, if you do any adventures here look up Uwa, the best guide ever! Be sure to snorkel and check out the caves with him. All in all, we loved this place! R'amen!!!

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2011

My husband and I stayed here for two nights and had a wonderful time. We stayed in the separate cabin, which was very cute and romantic. We had our own balcony (with hammock) and were separated from the other rooms by the kitchen and dining area. The rooms have fans and mosquito nets, and cold water showers.

It is really a lovely place with a family atmosphere. Tom and Ina are friendly and enjoying chatting with guests. Tom loves to cook (Ina even has a herb garden), so they have "family dinner" at 7:00 pm each night. If you would like to join you let them know in the afternoon and the price is $6 a plate, which is a great deal because the meals are delicious! They also offer breakfast in the morning.

There is a large deck for suntanning and a covered area with plenty of hammocks.

I highly recommend this fabulous guesthouse and hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2011 via mobile

Was traveling through Panama with my mother for a few weeks. (she's retiring there) Was refered to Tio Tom from a friend in Nicaragua. What a great place! Very quiet, and relaxing. Just what I needed after a couple of weeks of bussing through Central America. We only stayed for one night, because I had to meet up with some friends, and they were staying in Bocas Town. I will be back though! It's almost like staying on a postcard. I get up early, so I hung out on the dock, and watched the sun rise. Couldn't imagine a better setting. The owners (Tom and Ina) are friendly, and great to talk to. Can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed June 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Pension Tio Tom

Address: | Old Bank, Isla Bastimentos, Panama
Location: Panama > Bocas del Toro Province > Isla Bastimentos
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 14 B&Bs / Inns in Isla Bastimentos
Also Known As:
Pension Tio Tom Hotel Isla Bastimentos
Pension Tio Tom Panama/Isla Bastimentos, Bocas Del Toro

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